Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Slightly Slouchy Beanie

I made this hat as a thank you gift for a friend who loves the outdoors. She hikes, and cycles all the time , does a lot of travelling, and does not wear anything fluffy or frilly – or, as far as I can tell, patterned .I wanted a hat that fit her practical needs, including being light and small to pack, but did not look like something only a bloke would wear.
 Fortunately for me, she not only said all the right things when I gave it to her, but a few weeks later told me how much she had been wearing it, so either I have been successful with my pattern, or she is very kind and has extremely good manners – or both. Even better, it was relatively quick to knit, and was a good use for some of my large stash of sock yarn. 
I used Heirloom Jigsaw sock yarn and Patonyle sock yarn for the contrast brim. The self patterning Jigsaw yarn  makes a nice non repeating variegated yarn as a beanie.
I am planning on putting this pattern up for free on Ravelry  - once I have some test knitting done. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Green Vest

This vest started out as a version of the DK vest from Jo Sharp Knit, issue 10, but unfortunately, I was only a few rows into the garter stitch rib, when I succumbed to the pleas of a customer and sold her my shop copy, after a rush on the magazine caught us all sold out.
 I quite fancy the garter stitch rib, which is simple to knit, looks pretty, but lacks the recovery of a more standard 2x2 rib. SAM_1499_plus_logo_BR
 At this point, the vest construction started to deviate from my memory of the pattern The vest was looking rather big and boxy, so I added some more of the garter stitch ribbing to the sides in an attempt to add some shaping.
In retrospect, I should have added some more ribbing, or used regular 2x2 ribbing, as the vest is still a bit boxy.
By the time I came to the neck, I had decided on a v neck, rather than the round neck in the pattern, thinking I would like to wear it over a blouse with a stand and collar. I was quite happy with how this turned out. SAM_1507_plus_logo_BR
Unfortunately, finishing the vest caused a little problem. I asked my daughter to model it for the blog, and now she won't give it back. SAM_1500_plus_logo_BR
 Classic Double Knit Wool in shade 002, Pistachio. At least this will give me a chance to do some fitting tweaks on the next one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Anita Cable Wrap

It has been so cold and frosty here lately. I have been wearing this snuggly wrap nearly every morning, and remembered today that I had somehow forgotten to write a post about it. SAM_1367_plus_logo_BL This wrap is an updated version of my Anita Wrap pattern. I have added a simple cable to the wide rib panels, and used the more budget friendly, but still luscious, Aslan Trends Guanaco, with a little Japanese variegated mohair to enliven the tassels. SAM_1361_plus_logo_BL As Guanaco is 12ply, this knits up relatively quickly. I might need another one in a different colour. SAM_1368_plus_logo_BL

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sock Class starting Monday 25th June

Here are some of the samples I have been knitting for the next class series, Sock Knitting 1 SAM_1468_plus_logo_BL There are a few classes running at Stitch Bliss at the moment, and I have been asked by some people who have missed out to put forthcoming classes on the blog, rather than just advertising them in the shop for locals. This next class is a 3 session series, starting on Monday 25th June 3.30pm-5.00pm, running fortnightly (there is a bit of homework between each class). There is one space remaining in this class. The class is intended for knitters who can cast on, knit and purl confidently. Topics covered will generally cover: knitting in the round, the effect of stitch count on self patterning yarns, managing pooling with stitch patterns, reinforced stitching, heel flap construction, heel turning, picking up stitches, gusset shaping, and kitchener stitch for finishing - topics may vary according to the interests of participants. The class is not suitable for complete beginner knitters.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

At the show

Our local quilt and craft show, put on by Rotary for the benefit of local charities (warm fuzzy) was in the first weekend of June, and despite having no ability at all at quilting, StitchBliss was there having a terrific time. (I greatly admire the quilts made by other people).
I have finally caught up enough in the shop to tell you about the show.
First let me display our stall.
This was taken on day 2, when we were a little tired and possibly disarranged, but you can see the idea - lots of easy quick projects to appeal to the knitter in every quilter ;). There were also a few luxurious temptations for the more involved lover of textiles.
It was terrific to see so many local crafters.
We did a bit of craft ourselves.
These dyed silk scarves were made at a workshop by Genesis Creations. I am giving these ladies a plug here, as my daughter and I very much enjoyed the workshop (we took turns minding the stall), and we truly meant to go back and buy some of the dye kits, but ran out of time. That is the problem with having to actually work at one of these shows! Now we will have to pay postage, sigh....

I also came across some rather peculiar ideas at the show.
I am familiar with the "I don't knit" idea. Strange, yes, ;)  but not everyone likes the same things. It did strike me that these non knitters seemed to particularly enjoy patting all the luscious yarns - clearly they are missing out on tactile experiences....
However the most peculiar idea I came across at the show was in an early morning conversation with a fellow stallholder. This very organised fellow came over to our stall whilst we were setting up and said to me "My wife used to knit"
I made some sort of  non-commital response.
"She used to knit all the time, until I said -'no more knitting'"
I must have looked quite taken aback, as he was quick to qualify this statement
"She wasn't getting anything else done, and we had enough knitting"
Now what can the owner of a yarn shop say to that?
The man went on to comment. "I saw you knitting yesterday, you are very slow"
I agreed. I do knit  more slowly than some people, but this doesn't bother me . To me knitting is just as much about enjoying the process as it is about enjoying the product. I felt very sorry for this man's wife. It would be difficult to be married to someone who felt that your creative outlet was a waste of time. (This fellow was selling his own creative outlet, which made his lack of appreciation of knitting seem even more peculiar)
What do you think?
I admit, it would have been nice to knit faster when I was trying to get all the samples ready for the show.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Scarf Series 6: Cocoon Stitch Scarf in Invernal

This stitch pattern is called "repeated ovals" in the Harmony Guide to Cable and Aran Stitches but I much prefer the Cocoon name that I have heard since the stitch was used in Contemporary Irish Knits under that name. I have changed the decreasing slightly from the Harmony version, to make my needle wielding easier when knitting in the flat!


This scarf uses one and 1/3 skiens of Invernal (angora rabbit and merino wool w ith some polyamide) and 4mm needles. It is a very soft yarn, but I think it shows the stitch pattern quite well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kaffe Fassett stripey socks

Even when you are on a scarf binge, it is useful to have some sock knitting underway. Tiny needles, long sections of repetitive knitting perfect for a few rows whilst waiting around at swimming lessons and the like,  and about 50g of yarn per sock to carry around make socks a permanent occupant of my handbag.
The latest pair are knit from my own pattern and the Landscape (striped) Kaffe Fassett Regia yarn in colourway 4352 Canyon. The earthy colours co-ordinate perfectly with my Autumn wardrobe. Now I just need some new shoes that will show off my socks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scarf Series 5: Infinity cowl in two yarns

It is very pleasing when the pattern you write for one yarn makes an equally satisfying project with a different yarn (or two).

 I was very happy when my fiddling about decision to combine two Jo Sharp yarns in moss stitch worked out so well. This is the same Infinity scarf pattern that I have shown you in the 12ply Guanaco, but I think I like it even better with the combined Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid mohair and Silk Road Aran Tweed.

I tried this stitch with the yarn combination after finishing my rib scarf with the two yarns, which felt terrific. As much as I liked the look of the two yarns knit together in rib, I felt  the finished product was a little more disguising to the Silkroad Aran Tweed than I had hoped.

 The bulk of the two yarns is about the same as the 12 ply, but the combined yarns are displayed very nicely by the moss stitch, with the brighter cranberry mohair showing up on the purl side of the stitches and blending in on the knit side, giving a texture that appeals to me greatly.
The scarf is a little less wide than the Guanaco, but also lighter, weighing in at just unde 150g, compared to the Guanaco at 200g.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Scarf Series 4: Jasmine Tea in Paris

This rather fanciful pattern name is due to the felicitous combination of two yarn names and colours in this quick knit scarf. SDC10529_plus_logo_BR I have used Jo Sharp's Rare Comfort Kid Mohair in colour Jasmine Tea with her Silkroad Aran Tweed in colour Parisian. It is a shortish scarf, with a tassel fringe made from the mohair. I like the colour variations in both yarns, and think the two of them knit toghether are a terrific match.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Scarf Series 3: The Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Cabled Cowl

The name of this yarn, Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk, is so invocative of soft luxury, that it is only the incredible texture of the real yarn that can live up to it. This is undoubtedly a luxurious cowl, taking me exactly 5x 50 g balls in the Aran version of this yarn, but in my opinion, the texture of this cowl around the neck is completely worth the investment. SAM_0828_plus_logo_MR
The colour is the delicous 62 Aubergine, and the pattern is easy to knit, and relatively quick. The cowl is knit lengthways, with only a few slightly more advanced techniques used including provisional cast on, an easy cable, and having the ends of the cowl joined in Kitchener stitch. If you have already knit a plain garter or rib scarf, and want something a tiny bit more challenging, this would be a rewarding project, one you could easily finish before Winter starts officially.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Scarf Series 2: Seaweed Scarf in Lumina

This scarf is one I was commissioned to make - twice, by one of the few people who can get away with whinging about something I knit for them, my Mum.
 (That is not my Mum modelling the scarf, did you guess?
 My Mum claimed that she was off to Fiji when I asked her to model the scarf, and posted it up so that someone else could wear it for the photos)
 The first scarf I knit for Mum from Lumina was in stocking stitch, as she found the rolled stocking stitch edges on the Lumina A line top I had made her from Jo Sharp Knit Issue 4 quite appealing.
 Unfortunately, once I had knit this scarf, her expression when she tried it on was at odds with her mendacious story that she "would get used to it" and that "It is very nice". I had dreadful visions of it lurking in the bottom drawer, wrenched it away from her, and started a new scarf, with a wavy edge, and little wriggly things along this long edge to emphsize the waviness and further limit rolling. (The Lumina did not seem to suffer at all from ravelling - I knit the new scarf straight from the old one without balling up the yarn in between, and did not lose a single sequin) SDC10527_plus_logo_BR

 I was very pleased with the organic looking edge, and although this is a glamorous evening scarf, with a lovely sheen and pretty sequins, it still looks like seaweed to me - pretty seaweed.

SDC10521_plus_logo_BR SDC10524_plus_logo_BR

 I am particularly pleased with how the scarf can form a really flattering ruff -like collar, front or back as needed. I think this would look lovely with a strapless gown.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scarf series 1: Pomegranate Moss Stitch Cowl

I made a couple of cowls in moss stitch last winter, and they were worn a lot. There is something very useful about a scarf that cannot slither off your shoulder because it is actually one big loop. This one is knit from 12ply Guanaco, colour 172 Pomegranate, not quite 2x 100 skeins. I adore the cheery colour. SDC10502_plus_logo_BR Doesn't it look chunky and warm? Just as well. Winter arrived here yesterday - not just cool mornings and evenings, but chilly all day. Perfect knitting weather with a cup of tea. SDC10512_plus_logo_BR

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sublime Jumper

I particularly admire the tendency of Sublime pattern books, to contain quite a few patterns for men and boys. Especially impressive is the uncanny ability to write patterns that both appeal to the ultra conservative males of my family, and are reasonably interesting to knit. This is an uncommon combination of qualities. Here is the latest wild success, a red (0167) version of the Hot Chocolate/Oxford Blue jumper from the Third Cashmere Merino Silk Aran Book. SAM_0835_plus_logo_MC SAM_0836_plus_logo_MR Although my model is fashionably solemn, he likes this jumper very much - as he should. I have used the incredibly luxurious cashmere silk merino Aran yarn for a 9 year old boy. This is possibly rather unwise, as 9 year old boys are not known for either their scrupulous care of special garments, nor for staying the same size for long enough to wear out such a garment. However, after this particular boy spent half an hour patting all the yarns in the shop, and declared this one the softest I felt that someone with such natural good taste was worthy of this special yarn. SAM_0833_plus_logo_MR I have made the smallest size (61/66cm chest), adding 5cm to the length of the body and arms to account for the slimness of the recepient in comparison to his height. The rib pattern should stretch, should he become more robust over winter. Making such an adjustment sounds remarkably sensible, and would have been even more sensible had I actually read the pattern dimensions before starting the jumper. I tweaked the neck finishing so that the centre rib panels matched the body of the jumper, being fond of symmetry. SAM_1301_plus_logo_TL Above is the first section of the first attempt at the jumper, in the smallest size + 10 cm, with swatch - as evidence that I even checked my tension in this stretchy rib pattern. The back was rather too long, causing much laughter from his sisters when I held it up against the recipient, and was an entirely self inflicted mistake. Rather than ravelling all this knitting, I have declared that next year, my 10 year old will have a handsome blue version (Clipper 0015) of the same jumper. Growth is not always a bad thing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Winkie hat

Hats may just be as addictive to knit as socks. Here is my next new hat pattern, a ribbed, striped number using 2 balls of 8ply/category3/light worsted. SAM_1221_plus_logo_BR
The yarns I have used are Jo Sharp Classic DK wool, 507 Miro, and Heirloom Celtic, 927, an Alpaca and Merino blend. The tail is an extended i-cord, with 2 additional i-cords grafted near the end. The tassel finish is rounded out with short strands of wool knotted through individual stitches along the i cord.
The stretchy rib makes the hat fit nicely on a range of head sizes, but also allows the hat to be worn with the brim turned up or down as desired. SAM_1219_plus_logo_BR SAM_1216_plus_logo_BR

Monday, April 16, 2012

Striped Invernal hat, Beanie the third

In honour of our mention in The Sunday Times, I have written a new beanie pattern. Here is the prototype.
I have used the luxurious Invernal angora/merino yarn, as the Rathcooney beanie was so comfortable and soft to knit and wear.
This pattern is simple to knit, with the stripes adding some interest to the body of the beanie, and a double decrease giving a geometric neatness to the crown.
I will be adding this hat to the kits available in the shop.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beanie and Beret Kit Discount, and the Sunday Mail

I am feeling just a little flattered, our shop is in the Sunday Mail!


I was telephoned the other day, out of the blue, by the journalist who puts together general interest stories for the Brisbane Sunday paper, and despite being slightly misquoted, I think it is terrific that there is an article about knitting in the paper.


A beanie is a terrific project for a relatively new knitter, someone who can cast on, and is confident with knit and purl stitches.
A simple beanie can be knit in a weekend.


A 12 ply beanie pattern from Brisbane shop Tangled Yarn is included in the article. It would work well with Guanaco or Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra.

As there was not room for another free pattern in the article, I am offerring a 20% Discount on our hat kits using 12 ply yarn, , for this week only, ending on Saturday 21st April. Use code SUNMAIL in the checkout. Alternatively, with the purchase of any 12 ply yarn, I will include the Big Beanie pattern for free - leave a comment asking for the pattern at checkout.

Happy Knitting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Beanies take over, Basic Cable from Stitch'nBitch Nation

Having knit a beanie for one of my offspring, there was an urgent need for a beanie for a sibling. Fortunately, one never needs to be bored when knitting a beanie as there are so many terrific patterns around, and a beanie is so quick to knit that there is not time to get tired of the pattern before the garment is finished.
Having said this, it is possibly a little dull of me to admit that this beanie is a pattern I have knit several times previously.
This hat is an adaptation of Christine Quirion's Basic Cable Beanie from Stitch'n Bitch Nation. I find this pattern rather small for an adult beanie, but a very pleasant pattern to knit for a child's beanie.
This one is knit in DK/8ply/light worsted/category 3 weight yarn(Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool) instead of the 10ply/worsted yarn called for in the pattern. For a soft beanie, I have stayed with the size 5mm needles used in the pattern, but increased the cable repeat (additional 24 stitches) to ensure that the beanie stretches sufficiently to fit. I have also increased the height of the rib section, as the pattern as written turns out rather short for the heads in my family.
I particularly like the way the cable decrease tapers towards the crown of the beanie.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beanies take over, Rathcooney in Invernal

Sometimes a particular type of knitting seems to jump the queue. With cooler weather starting, and a trip south, beanies are proliferating.
This particular beanie is from Carol Feller's Contemporary Irish Knits.
It is the pattern Rathcooney, knit in the medium size.
I've used the deliciously soft yarn Aslan Trends Invernal in Rouge, and used less than half of a 100g skein. This yarn is an angora (rabbit) and wool mix, so was very topical for Easter knitting;).
I enjoyed the details of this pattern. The cobblestone pattern is easily remembered, and shifts beautifully into a wide rib, and the added i-cord bind off is a very clean finish.
SAM_1081_plus_logo_ML The only change I would make, should I knit it again, would be to start with a provisional cast-on, as picking up the entire edge was a little tedious.
As beanies are so quick and satisfying to knit, I have several more to show you - they are nearly as addictive as socks.